According to Paul, a disciplemaker is to be a faithful steward of Christ. A steward is one who manages the resources and the affairs of another. As a steward of Christ, you will not manage material wealth; you will manage spiritual treasures. Paul wrote to Timothy, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:1–2).
As a steward of Christ, you must serve in the strength God supplies and invest in men and women of integrity.
Serve in the Strength God Supplies.
The steward of Christ does not serve in his own ability or power. Instead, he is wholly dependent on Christ and serves in the strength God supplies.
In John Stott’s commentary on 2 Timothy, Guard the Gospel, he elaborates on this: “Timothy [or any disciplemaker] will not find strength for ministry in his own nature or ability, but in the grace that God supplies. The grace of God is not only for our salvation, it is for our service.”
Consider also what Paul says in Colossians 1: “We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me” (Col. 1:28–29).
Paul is laboring and striving, but at the same time, he recognizes that the Lord Jesus is working powerfully through him as he submits and surrenders to the Christ within. Is it any wonder he says to the Corinthians that believers “are God’s coworkers” (1 Cor. 3:9)?
Invest in Men and Women of Integrity.
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
Paul told Timothy, on more than one occasion, to guard the gospel. Robby Gallaty helps us understand what this means: “The way Timothy would guard the gospel entrusted to him would be by giving it away.”
By entrusting the gospel he’d received to faithful people, Timothy was ensuring it would continue to thrive among all people. Faithful men are men or women who are people of FAITH: they are faithful, available, intentional, teachable, and hungry.Faithful men are men or women who are people of FAITH: they are faithful, available, intentional,… Click To Tweet
Those you invest in should be faithful. People who are faithful will persevere and endure through hardships. They are steadfast in their commitments and hold true in spite of circumstances. These men and women have proven themselves trustworthy.
Second, those you invest in should be available. These are the folks that are always ready, willing, and able to do the work of God or to serve and minister to others.
Third, those you invest in should be intentional. They are not only ready, willing, and able to do God’s work, but they are also searching for things to do. These are people who see opportunities for ministry and seize them for the glory of God.
Fourth, those you invest in should be teachable. Being teachable may be the most important character quality of someone you invest in. So many do not receive instruction because they think they’ve arrived and know it all.
Finally, those you invest in should be hungry. They should have a hunger and thirst for God. Like one who is hungry and thirsty, they are seeking God and will not be satisfied until they come to know Him in a deeper way. Jesus said, “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6).
While in seminary, I served as the student pastor at the First Baptist Church of Kennedale, Texas. The senior pastor, Earnest Wall, taught me a valuable lesson that I will never forget. He said, “If you are going to be in gospel ministry, you must see people not for who they are but for what they can become.” That principle has served me well over the years working with students and adults alike.
Faithful stewards must begin with the end in mind. As they invest in men and women who are faithful, available, intentional, teachable, and hungry, they must see others for what they can become as Christ works in them.
Paul’s desire was not to see converts but to help those who came to faith become mature and devoted followers of Christ. And that should be the heartfelt desire of every disciplemaker: to see people come to faith and be discipled.
The only way we can do this is by “His strength which works powerfully” in us (Col. 1:29). Paul knew that as he allowed Christ to work in him, Christ would work through him as he invested in others.
The steward of Christ must entrust the gospel to faithful men who can give it away to the next generation. In 2 Timothy 2:2, there are four generations mentioned:
First, Christ gave away the gospel to Paul.
Second, Paul gave it away to Timothy.
Then Timothy would entrust it to faithful men.
Finally, faithful men would then teach others also.
Paul equipped and empowered Timothy—who would then equip and empower faithful men—who would then equip and empower others also! In whom are you investing? Whom are you equipping and empowering to do gospel ministry?
I once heard the story of a congregational pastor who was visited by the bishop of his district. The bishop asked, “How many converts did you have in this last church year?”
“We had one young boy,” the pastor replied proudly, “and I have been mentoring and investing in him to help him grow in his faith.”
The bishop replied, “Only one convert to show for a year of gospel work; that is disgraceful.”
But the pastor was not discouraged. He continued to pour into and invest in this young man. He helped him walk through the Bible, memorize Scripture, share his faith, and find a burden for prayer. God blessed this pastor’s efforts; the young man grew up to become the powerful preacher F. B. Meyer.
As a disciplemaker, you have been entrusted with the spiritual treasure of the gospel. You can leave a lasting legacy if you invest what you have received in the lives of others and then empower them to do the same. You can change the world from right where you live when you make disciples who make disciples.